Brunei officially the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace, is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. Apart from its coastline with theSouth China Sea, it is completely surrounded by the state of Sarawak, Malaysia; and it is separated into two parts by the Sarawak district of Limbang. It is the only sovereign state completely on the island of Borneo; the remainder of the island's territory is divided between the nations of Malaysia and Indonesia. Brunei's population was 408,786 in July 2012.
At the peak of Bruneian Empire, Sultan Bolkiah (reigned 1485–1528) is alleged to have had control over the northern regions of Borneo, including modern-day Sarawak and Sabah, as well as the Sulu archipelago off the northeast tip of Borneo, Seludong (modern-dayManila), and the islands off the northwest tip of Borneo. The maritime state was visited by Spain's Magellan Expedition in 1521 and fought against Spain in 1578's Castille War.
During the 19th century the Bruneian Empire began to decline. The Sultanate ceded Sarawak to James Brooke as a reward for his aid in putting down a rebellion and named him as rajah, and it ceded Sabah to the British North Borneo Chartered Company. In 1888 Brunei became a British protectorate and was assigned a British Resident as colonial manager in 1906. After the Japanese occupation during World War II, in 1959 a new constitution was written. In 1962 a small armed rebellion against the monarchy was ended with the help of the British.
Brunei regained its independence from the United Kingdom on 1 January 1984. Economic growth during the 1990s and 2000s, averaging 56% from 1999 to 2008, has transformed Brunei into a newly industrialised country. It has developed wealth from extensive petroleum and natural gas fields. Brunei has the second-highest Human Development Index among the South East Asia nations after Singapore, and is classified as a developed country. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Brunei is ranked fifth in the world by gross domestic product per capita at purchasing power parity. The IMF estimated in 2011 that Brunei was one of two countries (the other being Libya) with a public debt at 0% of the national GDP. Forbes also ranks Brunei as the fifth-richest nation out of 182, based on its petroleum and natural gas fields.
In May 2014, Brunei enacted a criminal code based on Sharia. The code will eventually include amputation and stoning as punishments, including stoning to death for adultery and "same sex activity.
On 14 November 1971, His Royal Highness Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, which then used the title due to it being a protectorate of the UK, left for London to discuss matters regarding the amendments to the 1959 Constitution. A new agreement was signed on 23 November 1971 with the British representative being Anthony Henry Fanshawe Royle.
Under this agreement, the following terms were agreed upon:
- Brunei was granted full internal self-government
- The UK would still be responsible for external affairs and defence.
- Brunei and the UK agreed to share the responsibility for security and defence.
This agreement also caused Gurkha units to be deployed in Brunei, where they remain up to this day.
On 7 January 1979, another treaty was signed between Brunei and the UK. It was signed with Lord Goronwy-Roberts being the representative of the UK. This agreement granted Brunei to take over international responsibilities as an independent nation. Britain agreed to assist Brunei in diplomatical matters.
In May 1983, it was announced by the UK that the date of independence of Brunei would be 1 January 1984.
In 31 December 1983, a mass gathering was held on main mosques on all four of the districts of the country.
At midnight, on 1 January 1984, the Proclamation of Independence was read by His Majesty Hassanal Bolkiah, which is now addressed in this manne.
This small, wealthy economy is a mixture of foreign and domestic entrepreneurship, government regulation, welfare measures, and village tradition. Crude oil and natural gas production account for about 90% of its GDP. About 167,000 barrels (26,600 m3) of oil are produced every day, making Brunei the fourth-largest producer of oil in Southeast Asia.It also produces approximately 25.3 million cubic metres (890×106 cu ft) of liquified natural gas per day, making Brunei the ninth-largest exporter of the substance in the world.
Substantial income from overseas investment supplements income from domestic production. Most of these investments are made by the Brunei Investment Agency, an arm of the Ministry of Finance. The government provides for all medical services, and subsidises rice and housing.
The national air carrier, Royal Brunei Airlines, is trying to develop Brunei as a modest hub for international travel between Europe and Australia/New Zealand. Central to this strategy is the position that the airline maintains at London Heathrow Airport. It holds a daily slot at the highly capacity-controlled airport, which it serves from Bandar Seri Begawan via Dubai. The airline also has services to major Asian destinations including Shanghai, Bangkok, Singapore and Manila.
Brunei depends heavily on imports such as agricultural products (e.g. rice, food products, livestock, etc.), motorcars and electrical products from other countries. Brunei imports 60% of its food requirements, of that amount, around 75% come from the ASEAN countries.
Brunei's leaders are very concerned that steadily increased integration in the world economy will undermine internal social cohesion. But, it has become a more prominent player by serving as chairman for the 2000 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. Leaders plan to upgrade the labour force, reduce unemployment, which currently stands at 6%;strengthen the banking and tourism sectors, and, in general, broaden the economic base.
It is promoting food self-sufficiency. Brunei renamed its Brunei Darussalam Rice 1 as Laila Rice during the launch of the "Padi Planting Towards Achieving Self-Sufficiency of Rice Production in Brunei Darussalam" ceremony at the Wasan padi fields in April 2009. In August 2009, the Royal Family reaped the first few Laila padi stalks, after years of attempts to boost local rice production, a goal first articulated about half a century ago. In July 2009 Brunei launched its national halal branding scheme, Brunei Halal, with a goal to export to foreign markets.